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Uttarakhand CM Gives Away Posts To Keep MLAs Happy

PTI 21 Jan 2010, 15:18:38 IST

To keep his flock together, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank has appointed over 20 MLAs belonging to BJP and coalition partner Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD) as heads of various bodies.

Nishank, who took over the reins of the state from B C Khanduri in the wake of heightened dissident activities after BJP's debacle in the May Lok Sabha polls, apparently made these appointments to keep the MLAs in good humour.

While, BJP has 36 MLAs, UKD has 3 in the 70-member House. Ten of the BJP MLAs are ministers, including Nishank, while UKD has one minister.

In the fresh appointments made by Nishank, the MLAs have been made Chairmen or Vice-Chairmen of various corporations, committees and boards.

All these posts carry facilities like beacon lights on cars, staff and various financial benefits like salaries and perks.

Several of the newly appointed BJP leaders are those who were holding similar posts during Khanduri's tenure.

Among those newly appointed are BJP leaders Anil Goyal, Pushkar Singh Dhami, Subash Barthwal, Shiv Raj Singh, Anil Balooni, Rajendra Bhandari and Jaspal Negi.

Two UKD leaders Kashi Singh Airy and B D Raturi retained their posts of Chairmen of Hiltron and Bhagirathi Valley Development Authorities respectively.

This is the second list of such appointments made by Nishank, who had given similar posts to a number of party leaders last year, besides making seven party MLAs parliamentary secretaries enjoying ministerial status. 

BJP leaders Devendra Bhasin, Ravindra Jugran, Prakash Suman Dhyani, Gita Thakur, Sushila Baluni, Shamim Alam, Narendra Rautela, Aditya Kumar, Sardar Sant singh, Puran Nainwal, Suresh Rathor, Beena Bist, Shanti Mehra, Hira Singh Dhapola, and Tejpal Singh Panwar have retained their posts.   Party sources said a third list would also be issued shortly to accommodate all those who have been left out. Former state BJP woman wing chief Raj Rawat is also a probable.

Significantly, BJP had attacked the former Congress government for providing "beacon posts" in bulk and used the issue to the hilt in the 2007 assembly elections.

Meanwhile, leader of the opposition Harak Singh Rawat has attacked the BJP over the issue saying the Nishank government was misusing the state's financial resources to appease the party leaders. PTI